So far this assignment has been rather . . . uneven. Because I am searching for firsthand data, there are long stretches of time where I can do nothing but sit and wait for other people to respond to me. Then everything comes together at the very end of the last week, and I spend a frantic Saturday throwing my paper together and turning it in.
Here I am on Friday night, with a paper due by midnight on Sunday (though thankfully not a necessarily long one), and now the interviews are finally creeping in. My first, and one I’m very happy with, is with author Bonnie Watson. I found her through a mutual acquaintance and she was great to work with, giving me useful answers quicker than anyone else–within a day of my request.
Her site is Wisdom Novels, if you want to check out her work, and you should.
1) What was your experience with the publishing industry? As far as you know, is this a common experience or were there special factors?
My experience with the publishing industry was definitely an eye-opener. For one thing, it taught me what to look for between the two types of publishing: self-publishing and main stream/traditional. If anything, you have to be PATIENT when waiting for responses. You have to look at what they’re offering in their contracts, how much you make in royalties, how much they want, the do’s and don’ts and “watch out for’s”, etc.
I once gave a talk at a high school about the “roller coaster” ups and downs when dealing with publishers. Since there are so many different features each one can give an author, sometimes it just depends on what an author needs at the moment. I choose self-publishing first time because I wanted to give book signings like all the rest of my author friends, and I wanted a quick turn-a-round.
I’m sure every author goes through some crazy moments in the publishing field. I’ve heard several complain, and then several compliment. Most complain. Do I have complaints? Not so much since most of the kinks are being worked out.
2) What did you learn from self-publishing? Did anything prove useful when you got a contract?
What I learned most with the self-publishing way, and probably the most disappointing way, was that you really couldn’t get into bookstores unless it was a company that that already had contracts with the bookstores. Take for example, Lulu.com. No book, to my knowledge, unless picked up by a big brand company, gets into a bookstore that has lulu’s logo on it. Why? Because anybody can use them, and you can easily publish any book without even proofreading it. It makes the company look shabby, but I have to admit that they were my first choice when self-publishing because I didn’t have to wait. Submitting a book takes mere minutes, and within a week or so you’ve got your order of books.
3) Is there anything that you regret from your self-publishing days? Conversely, is there anything you miss now about that time?
I really have no regrets. It was a nice learning curb that slowly transitioned the more I studied between the different companies. I knew where I wanted to go. It was only a matter of time before I could get there. So what’s there to miss about self-publishing? I suppose it would be the fact that I could control my prices, change up books on the whelm. Not so much now, at least with print. Now ebooks… that’s a different story.
4) What was the biggest change in the process of making a book when you switched publishing styles?
I really didn’t see a change as far as switching publishing styles. If anything, it threw business my way since I became sole graphic designer for the publisher who did my books. When do chances like that come about?
5) Which would you recommend to a new author, and why?
Which would I recommend? Since I’m with a small publisher who’s just getting started, I can’t say either way because we’re all still learning the process. Marketing is still a big factor and is very expensive. It depends on the author’s needs. I’d say that if you want to see what your book looks like quick, then choose something like lulu.com
and then it’s easy to edit once you have the proof copy. Something like that is fine for friends and family. Big game stores, I’d recommend doing your research.
6)I’ve heard it said that self-publishers are also entrepreneurs. Has that been the case for you?
I would definitely have to agree with the entrepreneur question. You really have to be because all the expense is on you. You are responsible for your own marketing, and really even now I still am. I can get books anytime I want, but it’s up to me to sell them. If I can’t sell them, and the publisher can’t sell them, there’s a problem. That’s where creative marketing can add up. I’m still looking into ways to market, since that’s definitely my weakness in this whole deal.
7) Success is a hard thing to measure. I’ve chosen to ask, having come through the publishing process, can you look back at your book and say “I and the people I worked with made it the best book I could and I’m proud of how it turned out”?
OH, I’M SO PROUD OF MY WORK!!!! And not only the writing, and the people who helped edit, but the fact that since I’m an illustrator it helped build my portfolio of characters and landscapes, creatures and concepts. The two go hand in hand. Every painting has a story behind it. Every story has a picture to paint. So I’m just an endless beacon of stories for both worlds. The world of Art. The world of Storytelling. There’s no living without either ~ see porfolio: BONNIE WATSON
Soooo…. I hoped I answered everything you needed.
Enjoy the artwork, too! Bonus, right?
Hey let me know if you ever want to read one of my books, because I’m offering a free PDF in exchange for Amazon reviews – yeah it’s a marketing tactic, lol
So I think that went pretty well. I’m starting to realize that there are a lot more writers around me than I thought . . .